This month's blog post has been kindly written for the Archives by School Historian, Brian Needham. Mr Needham explores two families who have had four generations come to this School.
Oakham School was founded in 1584 in the county town of Rutland by Archdeacon Robert Johnson.
While three histories of the School have been written (but only two published to date), very little is known about the actual boys (and there were only boys until 1971) attending the School up until the nineteenth century. Walter Sargant (Headmaster 1902-29) delved into the records of the Oxbridge Colleges and produced a list of those known to have studied at one or other college of the two universities from 1611-1928 and this list was published in his Book of Oakham School. This list has been augmented by fragmentary records of admissions to the School commencing in 1836 up until 1875.
Then in 1929 a retired teacher at the School, John Story, produced a register of boys attending the School from 1875-1929. This work was augmented by another retired teacher at the School, Eric Pickering-Clarke, in his volume dealing with 1900-1950.
Since 1950 there are extant school rolls and a list produced termly in the School List and Calendar, known as “the Red Book”, and all these sources have now been compiled together in an Excel spreadsheet. This has enabled some identification of family relationships from among the almost 16,000 boys (and now girls) known to have attended the School, a number that is by some way short of the actual number who have attended given the paucity of information from 1584 to 1836. Furthermore, it was not until the Story production that any attempt was made to provide the paternal first names name of boy entrants and so this has mitigated against any degree of certainty in establishing any generational attendees.
Until recently, then, the only certainty lay in establishing that there have been a number of relatively recent three-generational families – grandfather, father and son (or daughter) – such as the Booths, the Bullimores, the Churchouses, the Cloughs, the Dickenses, the Eayrses, the Fishers, the Forryans, the Herons, the Humphreys, the Ingrams, the Jameses (almost), the Jerwoods, the Keals, the Morleys, the Newells, the Notons, the Rooks, the Schanschieffs, the Sillses, the Smiths, the Thompsons (almost), the Westmorelands, the Whites, the Willses, the Wilsons, and the Wrights.
Now it has come to light that there might be one or even two four-generational families and the purpose of this blog is to investigate this possibility for the Old Oakhamian Club and establish whether or not the Clarkes and the Hills are the only known four-generational families to attend Oakham School in its over four-hundred-year history.
The Clarke Family
There have been 37 students with the family name of Clark and 47 with the family name of Clarke (and even 11 with the family name of Clarkson) who have attended the School. Five of those with the Clarke name sent either a son or daughter to the School, but only one makes a claim to be a four-generational Old Oakhamian family.
Andrew Richardson Clarke attended the School from 1979-84.
His father, Peter Richardson Clarke, is an Old Oakhamian, attending the School 1945-51. He married Leslie Anna Bean in 1962, a marriage that produced Andrew.
Andrew’s paternal grandfather, Charles Ernest, is also an Old Oakhamian attending the School 1917-22. In 1932 he married Joan S Cooper and they had a son, Peter Richardson (above). Charles was part of the School's 1st XI cricket team and is possibly pictured in the quad photograph from 1922 below.
The School Register entry records that Charles Ernest’s father was Richard Augustine Clarke, another Old Oakhamian, for he joined the School in 1886-89. In 1895 he married Annie Mildred Richardson in Stamford in Lincolnshire 7a 647] and they had children, among whom was Charles Ernest (above).
This, then, according to the School records, is a four-generation family: Richard Augustine Clarke (Oakham 1886-89) who sent his two sons Richard James (Oakham 1917-21) and Charles Ernest (Oakham 1917-22) to the School; they in turn sent his grandsons Richard Anthony (1949-54) and Roger M (1954-59), sons of Richard James, and Peter Richardson (1945-51), son of Charles Ernest; finally, Peter Richardson sent his son Andrew Richardson (Oakham 1979-84). But for two years the family spanned from the Tercentenary (1884) to the Quatercentenary (1984). The evidence for all this comes from the School Registers held in the Archives but to be completely sure, it is necessary to trace the births and marriages of the family, along with census returns. The essential certificates obtained were the birth certificates of Charles Ernest, Peter Richardson and Andrew Richardson and the marriage certificates of Richard Augustine, Charles Ernest and Peter Richardson.
The Hill Family
There have been 45 Oakham students with the surname of Hill; five of them sent a son or daughter to Oakham but then the possibility emerged of one family with four generations, in that it appears that Frank Kenneth Hill (Oakham 1895-97) sent his son Peter Kenneth to the School (1924-31), that Peter Kenneth sent his son Richard Kenneth (Oakham 1950-59) and that Richard Kenneth sent his son Timothy Kenneth (1980-87).
Can this be proved?
Frank Kenneth Hill was a student at the School 1895-97. In 1910 he married Frances Louisa Wadkin and they had a son, Peter Kenneth.
Peter Kenneth Hill attended the School 1924-31. In 1938 he married Sylvia M.J. Widdowson and they had a son, Richard Kenneth. A keen cricketeer at School, he is probably pictured in the 1931 1st XI team photo below.
Richard Kenneth Hill was at the School 1950-59. In 1967 he married Philippa Shipman and they had a son, Timothy Kenneth.
Timothy Kenneth Hill attended Oakham 1980-87 and was a Fifth Form tutee of the School Historian in 1984-85.
The above shows a second four-generation family of Oakham students – Frank Kenneth Hill [Oakham 1895-97] sent his son Peter Kenneth to the School [1924-31] who sent his son Richard Kenneth [Oakham 1950-59] who, in turn, sent his son Timothy Kenneth [1980-87]. The evidence for all this comes from the School Registers held in the Archives but to be completely sure it is necessary to trace the births and marriages of the family, along with census returns. The essential certificates obtained were the birth certificates of Peter Kenneth, Richard Kenneth and Timothy Kenneth and the marriage certificates of Frank Kenneth, Peter Kenneth and Richard Kenneth.
We hope that you enjoyed this month's blog and please do let us know if there are any more multi-generational familiies who have come or are about to come to the School.